Tuesday, November 1, 2016

One Hot Summer & A Bowl Of Matzo Ball Soup

It's been quite a summer. Our garden came and went. We finalized a curriculum for the children for this next year. Entertained the idea of buying a few farms. Figured out things with Cub Scouts for next year. Went camping and fishing together. Made new friends. Saw old friends and family. It's been a good few months. And I am excited to see what the Autumn Season brings.

We were given a new chicken this summer. An Americana that 'E' absolutely loves. 'E' named her Henny-Penny; and the chicken lays blue eggs.

And speaking of chickens: Out of all the chicks that Pollo hatched - three made it to adolescence. We're not sure what happened to one of the chicks. One morning we had four, and the next there were three....

We were unable to correctly sex the chicks when they were under a week old. So, we had to wait until they were teenagers to see how they began to change; and what they would be. We ended up with two roosters, and one hen. Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. Between the Warner Brother's and their sister, Dot, and Henny-Penny; that brought our total number of chickens to 12... and now, I have butchered my first chicken; Wakko; taking our ranks down to 11; and I am unsure how I feel about that.

I've always eaten meat; and I have killed fish for food before... but nothing I have ever raised myself. I made a few minor mistakes processing the rooster, but not so detrimental that we couldn't eat it. We ended up with a delicious matzoball soup in the end... But the emotional processing within myself is the real thing that took the most work. To see a living, breathing, annoying, anarchy loving rooster in my arms one minute - and within a few hours - chicken in my soup - is something I will not easily or ever forget.

I already had a respect for animals; and the desire to give our rescue chickens the best life they could have; but it made me wonder and question the lives and deaths of so many other animals who die daily for our consumption.

I look at meat in the store differently now. Can I slaughter my own food? Yes, I can. Do I want to...? Not really...  This entire process made me very thankful for the store... I do however respect greatly the farmers who are going back to basics - raising their own livestock and by-passing the meat industry... but not everyone is so fortunate. Not everyone has the freedom, ability, knowledge, or monetary stability to raise their meat and slaughter it humanely.... but we do all have the ability to demand and shop according to our desires. More and more companies are taking notice of the consumer's wishes... after all, WE control what they do because they can't make a dime without us. We matter. Our voices matter. Our shopping choices matter - and if you have the ability to shop for better products, than I would encourage you to do so...

I am thankful to have learned the skill of butchering and processing a chicken. It is probably the most used meat source in our home... I do need some more practice to perfect said skill, BUT, I know I have the ability to do it... and I know now, more than ever, I want to give my hens the best life they can have - and to make sure - should any of them ever make it to my plate - to not waste any part of them - and to make it count. But, I do think for the near future, I will be sourcing my meat from the store; and making better shopping choices...

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